It's that time of year again to get your annual flu shot.

The Province will open clinics around Alberta starting Monday, October 15.

You can get the shots at various clinics put on by Alberta Health Services over the next couple of months, or at pretty much any pharmacy around the Province, and it's all for free.

While the shots offer the most protection to the young, old, and those with compromised immune systems, the Province encourages everyone to get the vaccine to protect not only yourself, but others at risk for getting sick.

In a release from the Province:

Pharmacists can offer the flu shot to people aged five and up. Previously, pharmacists were only able to offer immunization to individuals nine years of age and older.

Other immunization providers, such as pharmacists and some physicians, will now be able to offer influenza immunization to residents and staff in supportive living facilities.

“Getting immunized provides the best protection against influenza. With seniors, young children and Albertans with compromised immunity especially susceptible, I encourage everyone to get the flu vaccine to protect not only yourself, but others at risk of getting sick.”

Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health

“It’s important even for adult Albertans to get their annual flu shot. When people get immunized, they protect not only themselves, but also people around them who may be more vulnerable, such as seniors, young children, pregnant women and those with existing health conditions.”

Kristin Klein, Deputy Medical Officer of Health

“Remember – you can be contagious with influenza before you even feel sick. No one wants to be the reason someone else gets sick. And, no one wants to get sick.”

Dr. Christopher Sikora, Acting Senior Medical Officer of Health, AHS

For more information on Alberta’s influenza immunization program, including local clinic schedules, visit www.ahs.ca/influenza or call Health Link at 811.

Quick facts

•Influenza is a virus that primarily affects the respiratory system and can cause serious illness and death, particularly in vulnerable groups like seniors, young children, pregnant women and those with chronic health conditions.
•There are multiple strains of influenza “A” and “B.” Experts from the World Health Organization predict which strains will circulate every year and vaccines are manufactured based on the evidence.
•For the 2018-19 season, Alberta is offering one kind of flu vaccine. A four-strain injectable influenza vaccine produced by two manufacturers (vaccine names Fluzone and Flulaval Tetra) will be offered to Albertans six months of age and older.
•Preliminary AHS stats for the 2017-18 flu season: ?The immunization rate was 29 per cent (1,229,350 doses of vaccine administered), compared to 27 per cent the previous year.
- There were 9,609 lab-confirmed cases of influenza in Alberta last year.
- There were 92 deaths among hospitalized patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza.

•For the 2018-19 flu season, 1.6 million doses of vaccine were ordered at a cost of $12.6 million, enough vaccine to immunize 35 per cent of the population.

 

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